The Choice(3)

By: Shayla Black


She rang Raine’s doorbell, relieved when her bestie answered with a big smile and a hug. “Come in. I’m glad you’re here. River is dying to see you.”

Heavenly gulped. “Here I am.”

Concern lined Raine’s face. “Beck and Seth have also asked about you twenty times. Are you ready to see them?”

It was going to hurt so bad… “Sure.”

Raine didn’t look convinced. “Are you doing any better since we talked?”

“Much,” she fibbed, then glanced down at Raine’s swelling stomach. “Wow, those little ones are growing!”

“I know. Sometimes I’m not sure if they’re twin babies or twin Godzillas.” She stroked her baby boulder and dropped her voice. “What’s even funnier is, I can’t tell whether Hammer or Liam is more turned on by the pregnant thing. Go figure.”

Heavenly didn’t know how to respond. “That’s…great. I never thought you’d be this happy when we first met. You were in such a dark place.”

Raine’s face turned solemn. “Thank you for being there that day at the hospital. And thank you for being my friend since.” She sniffled suddenly, her big blue eyes filling with tears. “And if we don’t stop being mushy, I’m going to sob like a hormonal mess and ruin my makeup.”

When she laughed again, Heavenly joined in. “No more mushy, I promise. I’m just glad to see you.”

“Me, too. Wine?”

She rarely imbibed, but she’d probably need the liquid courage tonight. “Please. Is it in the kitchen?” When Raine ambled in that direction, Heavenly stopped her. “I’ll get it. You sit.”

“Oh, not you, too. Liam and Macen say that constantly. I’m pregnant, not helpless.”

“There you are, love. I’ve been looking for you,” Liam crooned behind Raine, his Irish lilt sounding happy as he wrapped his arm around her, giving her gently distending belly a rub. “Heavenly is right. Time to get you off your feet. The obstetrician says you need rest.”

Raine groaned. “I’ve only been upright for three minutes. It’s a party…”

“Which means it will be a long evening, and you should pace yourself.” Liam spoke the words as if they were a suggestion, but Heavenly had the distinct impression otherwise. “I’ll get her wine.” He turned in her direction. “Good to see you, little one.”

Before Heavenly could reply, strong fingers wrapped around her arm. “Don’t trouble yourself, Liam. I’ll get her a drink.”

River.

She had to face him sooner or later. And if she could think of the right white lie, maybe things between them would go back to normal. Ish, anyway.

“Thanks.” She faced Raine’s brother. “I’d like something white and fruity. As soon as I visit with Raine, then—”

“Let Liam settle her in the living room first.” River’s grip tightened. “You come with me.”

The Irishman nodded, sending her one of those unnerving stares. “A grand idea.”

River hauled her to the kitchen. What was it with these men? Every single one of them was bossy. Beck and Seth were the worst—powerful and larger-than-life. Bold. Sexual. Determined. Way beyond her experience.

Gosh, she really had to stop thinking about them.

Out the kitchen window, she glanced wistfully into the backyard and spotted the pair of them standing with Pike, Dean, and a few other guys she knew in passing, holding brews and laughing. Thank goodness Beck and Seth were occupied. Nothing would be worse than them overhearing River ask her embarrassing questions.

With a guiding hand, Liam led Raine to the sofa. When they reached a waiting Hammer, the men situated her in the middle of a cushion and fluffed pillows under her feet.

River dragged Heavenly to a quiet corner near the refrigerator and snatched the nearest bottle of wine. As he poured, Liam passed through on his way to the backyard. Then she and River were alone.

Raine’s big brother shoved a glass of thick red vino in her hand. “So, did you find someone to fuck your brains out?”

She recoiled. If she gave him an equally blunt answer, would he stop this mortifying inquisition?